For years, friends have asked, “When are you going to write your story?

My answer thus far has been, “Oh! Sometime when I’m caught up with all the other priorities.” Since I’ve already written the biography of my parents in a two-volume set entitled, Shiny Shoes on Dusty Paths, and since I’ve squeezed in short excerpts of my childhood experiences into the Children’s Korner—I felt that it was adequate—until a good friend and counselor insisted that I put my entire story onto my blog. So here I go!


Over the years, I’ve read or been told snatches of historical accounts regarding my family history, which I found interesting, though not quite adequate to satisfy some of my questions. This past year, however, some recent information has come to light that opens up some new insights, while at the same time, wetting the appetite for more. For what we do have, we bow before our loving and Faithful Heavenly Father, who has been the guide of our ancestors, and is still leading us today.

In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.

Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.




Long ago in the mists of time, there were various people groups in the Balkan Peninsula, which, it seems, were  constantly on the move. “Now wait a minute,” you might say. “Where in the world is this Balcan Peninsula, and what does it have to do with your family?”

According to Wiki, it’s “a geographic area in southeastern Europe, that takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea.”

It seems that these groups were constantly on the move, wandering far and wide—like the Children of Israel —and settling in various places such as: Ukaine, Friesland, Flanders, and Belgium. Many of these immigrants spoke Plautdetsch, Flemish, German, Low German, Russian, and other dialects.

It’s also thanks to her majesty, Queen Catherine the Great of Russia, who came to power about this time, and following a coup d’état on September 22, 1762—when her husband, Peter II was assassinated—that she declared a manifesto guaranteeing to all German immigrants from neighboring areas—especially Russia and Prussia—the right to colonize her lands, to practice their religion, set up their own autonomous government, and be exempt from military service for all time.

Thus it was that by 1870, some 9000 immigrants had set up colonies, the largest being the Chortiza and Molotshna settlements, which numbered some 45,000 people, and it seems apparent, that my grand-parents-on both sides, were among them.

… to be continued…












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